Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Etiquette Challenge: Final Strokes


Blushing,

Can I call you "Blushing"?

I wondered what you do in those last ten minutes before the guests arrive? My Mother contends they are the most critically spent entertaining minutes.

Very truly,
Ash
Vicksburg




Dear Ash,

Certainly. I respond to "Blushing," also "Hostess," and on one particular notable blog, "Blushtess." Frankly, given two of my professional lives, I've been called far worse, but thank you kindly for asking.

Although I had not previously given one iota of a thought to it, seems to me, your Mama is right. Some people were in for a birthday lunch this past Saturday and, per your request, I made a few notes:

1. I penned up the dogs, making sure to insult the Cairn twice because I was still hot over his trying to viciously attack me in my sleep.

2. I applied more blush and some lipstick, then made a clicking sound with my tongue and front teeth because I still could not locate my big cuff bracelet (that dog may or may not have had something to do with that issue, too).

3. I uncorked two bottles of wine, one red, one white, expertly slicing my thumb wide open on the foil of the latter then squeeeeeeeeeealing like a stuck pig and feigning a dramatic swoon while holding my arm aloft and applying pressure to my bicep. Then I wrapped the whole thing in yards of paper towel and quickly poured myself a glass. I took a seat for a moment panting after this harrowing episode while I pondered whether these obvious talents with survival skills and entertaining would make a good reality show: The Entertaining Survivalist, "Roughing it with Cannibals" or something gracious like that...

4. Then, off I went into the guest bath and gave the hyacinth a good shake, which everyone knows makes hyacinth powerful enough to scent Yankee Stadium. Then the same in living room. I believe in flowers not Febreeze. Best to stay away if you have an allergy.

5. I illuminated the faux candles (it was a first birthday party).

6. I noted the time.

7. I took a paper towel to a spot on the floor.

8. I heard the doorbell, dramatically ripped the paper towel bandaging from my (entire) arm, smiled, and opened the door.

Right then, it was seven minutes before the appointed hour. I would have to add to your Mother's caution that those ten minutes are the most important perhaps, but in truth, they begin twenty minutes before the party. There is always an early bird.

And Ash, I love a Vicksburg tomato sandwich.

Now, I leave you with the readers who will certainly have anecdotes to share.

Best,
Catherine
aka, Blushing

13 comments:

Housewife Bliss said...

you are both so right about the last 10 minutes, I always open the windows and rear doors to give the house a fresh blast of air, I find it is so welcoming to arrive to a freshly aired home. Lipstick, blush is another must..one can never have to much of a good thing (well maybe the blusher), and I give the pillows a good fluff.

Sorry about your hand, you poor dear. i hope the wine helped?

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post!!!
Those annoying early birds...but that is a manners post for another occasion!

James said...

A very amusing, yet insightful post. Thank you.

JeanMarie said...

I will never understand the early arrivals, have they never entertained. I love the final walk through and knowing all the inspirations are beautiful reality.

Linn said...

This is why I read your posts! You brighten my day immensely. I always say the only thing worse than late guests is an early guest.
I'm sorry about your thumb too -- darn foil!
Karen

LPC said...

Hahahaha. Also look into the fridge to see what ingredients you have forgotten to add to what dishes:).

Mrs. Blandings said...

Adored this and nearly all these thing have happened to me. I always plan to sit and have a drink with my husband the twenty minutes before, but am usually double checking that there is toilet paper and hand towels in the bath and figuring out the music - the system is always beyond me.

Aimee said...

Great post!

In my experience, the last 10 minutes is when I am ready, but able to do the extra little thoughtful touches for guests that make it more special. It's also moments that I savor – the house is all prepared and anticipating a lovely time with my company.

little augury said...

It is always a hope that the early arrival can do something constructive if you(ME) are running behind(amuck) Maybe answer the door(I'm not dressed yet) (bad form?)

Reggie Darling said...

Dear Blushing,
What a hoot you are!
I often find my last ten minutes are spent hurriedly jumping in and out of the shower and rushing to dress before the first arrival, all the while praying that noone arrives early, a definite "no-no" in my book!
Reggie

Butler said...

I think that the last 10 minutes before your guests arrive should be spent sipping your first glass of wine or cocktail. I am so insane about the details, making sure that everything I intended to do is done, that I'm usually ready to go 45 minutes before the guests arrive. One trick I pull is to have a beautiful cheese tray, which should be sitting out at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour, thus buying me some time to allow guests to arrive while having something for the early birds to munch on.

MDiskin said...

To my mind this is when you surrender the front of the house to your husband while you retreat to the restroom to apply lipstick or put on a bracelet.

Otherwise I find myself HUSTLING the poor man.

If he's not around I usually am unplugging my laptop, throwing it and all my writing materials into a laundry basket, and shoving it into my closet.

Kelly said...

Ohmygosh, this is hilarious. And sooo true.

Kelly